FRESNO, California (KSEE) — On Friday Mayor-Elect Jerry Dyer asked residents and community leaders to come together and stop the divisiveness over Fresno’s 5th Appellate Courts decision on a measure that will cost taxpayers $37.5 million annually.
Measure P, a citizen-led initiative, was very controversial on the 2018 ballot. It creates a 3/8 of a percent sales tax increase for the city for 30 years to improve parks and fund art programs.
Many believed the measure failed two years ago because of California Law that requires any tax increase to have a 2/3 majority to pass. However, a Fresno Judge ruled because it was brought forward by the community it only needs a 50% plus one majority.
“I think it’s time to move forward, ” said Dyer. “I know there are people that still want to fight this all the way up to the Supreme Court. I just think the longer this thing goes, the more divisive we are going to be as a community.”
Dyer hopes that by moving on from this division, the city can start to focus on other problems like the crime rates and homelessness.
Councilmember Garry Bredefeld said he isn’t throwing in the towel.
“It is time to fight it is not time to cave in, capitulate and pander to those who oppose you,” said Bredefeld. “It is time to fight for the people. It is wrong legally, and wrong for the citizens.”
The money raised from the tax will go to a city created a board that would spend the funds on creating and cleaning up parks, and improving after-school, job, and art programs.
Proponents of the measure thrilled to hear the outcome.
“Sometimes as a community, we are really hard on ourselves but it shows that as a community when we come together on these quality of life issues, we can accomplish them,” said Supporter Craig Scharton.
“It is a great Christmas present and we are just happy as can be that can be,” said Supporter Larry Powell. “We are very, very excited.”
The Fresno City Council will decide in January whether or not to continue the legal battle. Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association can also appeal the decision.